Hotshots: Africa’s most exciting new photographers


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Jepchumba is the founder of African Digital Art

Here she chooses eight of Africa's best up-and-coming photographers

"African photographers are giving voice to their own experiences," she says

Editor’s Note: Jepchumba is founder and creative director of African Digital Art, which is dedicated to African digital media and art. Originally from Kenya, Jepchumba has lived, traveled and spoken around the world promoting her commitment to creativity, art and technology in Africa.

CNN —  

It wasn’t too long ago when the image of Africa was plagued by photographs of starving children, war, wildlife photography and portraits of African tribes exoticizing the “dark continent.” But Africa for the past few years has been immersed in digital technology and culture and the digital age in Africa can now be witnessed through art and photography.

In the past the most notable photographers who captured images from Africa were those from Europe and and the United States – photojournalists who came to bring more exposure to the daily lives of those living in this diverse continent.

Jepchumba, founder African Digital Art
courtesy epchumbJ
Jepchumba, founder African Digital Art

But as the cost of digital technology significantly drops and more artists gain access to digital technology, African photographers are gaining exposure, giving voice to their own experiences of their neighborhoods and communities.

This list is a small example of new and up-and-coming photographers who are engaging their audiences in the visual representation of Africa, developing and nurturing the art of photography.

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Zanele Muholi, South Africa

Born in Durban in 1972, Zanele Muholi describes herself as a “visual activist.” Her photography often takes on subjects that are taboo and unspoken in parts of Africa and Muholi is renowned of her groundbreaking portraits of the lives of gay women in South Africa.

Her photography coincides with her work as an activist serving as the co-founder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women, a black lesbian organization.

Muholi has received many international accolades around the world including the “Fondation Blachère” award at “Les Rencontres de Bamako” biennial of African photography in 2009, the Fine Prize for an emerging artist at the 2013 Carnegie International, and Muholi will also be honored with a prestigious Prince Claus Award, in December.

Hélène Amouzou, Togo

Hélène Amouzou first captured my attention through her series of self portraits taken in the attic of her home.

Born in Togo in 1969 and a resident of Brussels, her series of portraits, “Between the Wallpaper and the Wall” were taken over a number of years, while she struggled to find her place in Belgium. Living as an asylum seeker waiting for her official residency visa, she discovered how “Self-portrait is a way of writing without words.” Her photography captures feelings of displacement and anxiety, cataloging many of the issues of those who are in exile.